The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) has said that Lance Armstrong may have breached international anti-doping rules when he underwent a surprise out of competition blood, urine and hair test on March 17 in the South of France.
According to a statement issued by the AFLD on Thursday lunchtime, Armstrong "did not respect the obligation to stay under direct and permanent observation of the tester as expected under the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.
The AFLD issued their statement after studying the testers report in a meeting in Paris. They claimed that Armstrong did not stay under observation despite repeated warnings from the tester to do so. The AFLD added that it has yet to decide on launching disciplinary proceedings.
ARMSTRONG DENIES MISBEHAVING
In a statement issued on Tuesday, when news of possible problems first arose, Armstrong claimed all the tests done have since resulted negative and strongly denied he ?misbehaved?.
?I did not try to evade or delay the testing process that day,? Armstrong said in the statement.
?I had just returned from an all day training session, wasn?t sure who this French man at my home was, and as soon as the UCI confirmed that he was authorized to conduct the tests, I let him take all the samples he requested.?
?We asked the tester for evidence of his authority. We looked at his papers but they were far from clear or impressive and we still had significant questions about who he was or for whom he worked. I was there with Johan Bruyneel and two other people. We told the tester we wanted to check with the UCI to confirm who he was and to make sure he wasn?t just some French guy with a backpack and some equipment to take my blood and urine. Johan stayed with him and in his presence called the UCI to find out what was going on. We asked if it was OK for me to run inside and shower while they made their calls and the tester said that was fine.?
?The drug collection forms we both signed state that we started the testing just 20 minutes after I arrived home. In addition, the form asked the tester to state if there were any irregularities or further observations from the testing process and to that he wrote ?no?. I have learned that after the tests were all negative, the laboratory has now suggested that the 20 minute delay should be investigated.?
UCI CONFIRM FRENCH JURISDICTION
According to the AFLD, UCI President Pat McQuaid confirmed that the AFLD has the right to handle the case. However the AFLD did not specify when any investigation or disciplinary hearing would take place.
?In a letter sent to the Agency on April 8, UCI (International Cycling Union) president Pat McQuaid said an interpretation of the World Anti-Doping code and UCI anti-doping rules confers the AFLD has the right to open a disciplinary procedure against Lance Armstrong,? the AFLD statement said.
?The AFLD is competent to impose disciplinary sanctions to people who do not hold a French licence but train on the national territory.?
If Armstrong is eventually sanctioned by the AFLD, any punishment would only be valid in France.
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Wednesday Comment (September 24)
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The Wednesday Comment, Armstrong Edition (September 10)
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Armstrong: No smoke without fire?
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